US Gaming Industry Outperforms Economy in August in Every State but Nevada

Posted on: October 9, 2018, 06:47h. 

Last updated on: October 9, 2018, 06:47h.

The casino economy was booming in August right across the US, with one exception — Nevada.

US gaming industry
The McGregor-Mayweather fight was the biggest draw on the Strip last year, which explains the decline in year-on-year growth in Las Vegas this August. Overall, though, the US gaming industry is packing a punch. (Image: Mark Rebilas/ USA TODAY)

Of the 21 states covered by market analyst Ken Adams in his most recent review of the US casino industry, 20 enjoyed at least 2 percent revenue growth, buoyed by a healthy national economy. Gaming expansion helped too, including the advent of legally licensed sports betting. This August’s extra Friday was also a boon.

“The economy helped, but the gaming industry outperformed the economy,” the analyst wrote.

Only Nevada was letting the side down, posting a 7.7 percent decline for the month. Meanwhile, revenue on the Las Vegas Strip declined even more sharply, with a 12.4 percent swing.

But Nevada-based Adams isn’t fretting just yet. In August, Las Vegas’ casino sector wasn’t competing against casinos in other states as much as it was competing against itself one year previously, when the Strip played host to the Floyd Mayweather versus Connor McGregor fight.

Tough Crowd

August 2017 was a tough month to beat. The much-hyped fight between MMA’s finest and the retired, undefeated boxing legend was the biggest draw of the year, resulting in a 21-percent revenue boost for Strip casinos.

Adams attributes this year’s underwhelming August solely to a lack of big-ticket events in Las Vegas, not to the start of a worrying “trend.”

Unless the entire economy goes in the tank, conditions in Las Vegas will still change monthly depending on events,” said Adams, who prepares his industry reviews for CDC Gaming Reports. “The Strip is dependent on the games played by people attending events in town.”

And despite a poor month according to the metrics, Nevada still trumped all other casino sectors in terms of cold, hard cash — and by some margin. The $477 million in revenue accumulated on the Strip alone dwarfed that of America’s second-biggest casino sector, Pennsylvania, which generated $275 million across the entire state.

Atlantic City Sitting Pretty

Adams highlighted Atlantic City, which after a torrid decade since the recession has rebounded to a position approaching health.

As well as launching sports betting in May, two new casinos opened over the summer in the resort town, the Hard Rock and Ocean Resort, and the New Jersey is beginning to reap the benefits. The city’s casino revenue was up 24.1 percent in August.

Meanwhile, Mississippi was up 8 percent, thanks in part to its new casino sports books, while revenues in Massachusetts and New York have also grown — both having opened new casinos since last year.

In Massachusetts, the new MGM Springfield has added a full-scale casino resort to a casino sector that previously comprised one slots racino, growing the market by 75 percent.

“Expanded gaming options in five states is the explanation for the increases in those jurisdictions,” Adams concluded. “For the rest of country, mark it up to the stars and planets falling in line.”